FIFTY-FIVE DAYS OF TERROR by Burt Hirschfeld

FIFTY-FIVE DAYS OF TERROR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This Story of the Boxer Rebellion is preponderantly history (95% of the book) so it seems wiser to include it in the non-fiction category even though the author, less wisely, has dubbed in a few fictional characters and conversations in very occasional chapters (i.e. a young Marine from Massachusetts, his Sergeant, a couple with a baby, etc.), Essentially however the book has substantial value as the story of this little known footnote to the Opium wars and the complicated imperial intrigue which preceded the actual insurrection. The I Ho Ch'uan, a fanatical arm of the Chinese Imperial Army, literally translated as The Fists of Harmonious Righteousness, and into the English of the times as the Boxers, operated as a secret society. Finally in 1900, just as Queen Victoria reached her 81st birthday, another more formidable queen Tzu Hsi backed the Boxers and the war on the foreigners ""to preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entity."" During the almost two month siege, 200,000 rounds of bullets were fired against the foreigners, diplomats, missionaries, and some military, before a truce was reached. Solid history based on solid research, although there may not be a pre-established younger reader interest in this long ago, far away incident.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1964
Publisher: Messner